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F1 >> MotoGP >> WRC
Issue No 041   Tuesday april 14, 2009

Better late than never
Stoner romps to Qatar win – teams divided over race delay

                                           or not?
                                        Diffuser row set to be decided
F1 >> MotoGP >> WRC

                                        ISSUE 041                                                      April 14, 2009
                                                          Another one: Daisuke Nakajima, Kazuki’s younger brother, debuted in the
                                       FULLY GREEN
                                         Informing        British Formula 3 Championship for Double R last weekend at Oulton Park.
                                      motorsport fans
                                      world-wide – and
                                      not a single tree
                                        destroyed to                             do it!
MotoGP Editor: Michael Scott
Rally Editor: Martin Holmes
Production Editor (Australia):
Andrew van Leeuwen
Assistant: Cedric Dufour
IT/Design (Australia)
Jayne Uthmeyer
Sutton Motorsport Images
Keith Sutton
Chris Lambden

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Today is D-Day – tha
International Court of Appeal meets today to decide the future of the
THE controversy over the design of the         the final moment on the side of the            holes in the chassis which contravene the
Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams F1 diffusers     original protesters and will be present in     regulations.
will be resolved this week, following a        Paris for the appeal, but will not make          Interestingly, it has come to light that
meeting of the FIA International Court of      representation.                                Ross Brawn, whose cars are at the centre of
Appeal in Paris.                                 The appeal has been raised as the designs    the controversy, tabled a proposal to modify
  The three teams’ designs were protested      in question utilise a Double Decker Diffuser   the 2009 regulations to make it impossible
by the Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull and BMW      (DDD), whereas the regulations stipulate       for such loopholes in the regulations to be
F1 Teams, with each protest rejected by        that the diffusers must be of a singular       exploited. His suggestion was dismissed,
FIA race stewards on the grounds that the      profile.                                       however, and as it now stands the three
questioned diffusers were within current F1      Furthermore, the regulations dictate that    teams in question have simply interpreted
regulations. The stewards’ decisions were      no part of the car may be visible through      the regulations in an intelligent manner and
appealed and it is this appeal which will be   the floor when viewed from underneath          one which Brawn himself had offered to
heard today.                                   and the teams which have launched              make impossible.
  McLaren has joined the debate at             the appeal believe that the DDD utilises         While this will no doubt stand in the three

                                                                                                                >> F1 NEWS

at’s Diffuser Day
e Diffuser gang
  teams’ favour, an argument has been raised      F1’s future.                                   Sebastiens Bourdais and Buemi tied for
  that the DDDs go against the spirit of the        If the designs are found to be illegal, as   third on eight points.
  regulations and will essentially see the        argued by Ferrari consultant Rory Byrne, it      This is thought to be unlikely, and it is
  re-legalisation of ground effect, if the ICA    remains possible, albeit unlikely, for the     believed that the teams will simply be told
  dismisses the appeal.                           results of the first two races of 2009 to be   they may no longer run the diffusers in the
     That said, the FIA will be keen to support   altered as the three teams in question all     future if the appeal is upheld.
  the independent teams, as its proposed          raced under appeal.                              Should the designs be found legal,
  basis for the future of Formula 1 lies in the     Should they be kicked out of the             however, the current championship
  intelligent application of thought working      results, the Australian Grand Prix would       positions would stand and it is expected
  under the confines of a budget cap. Some        be handed to Fernando Alonso and the           that we could see new diffusers on a
  critics argue that for the FIA to penalise      Malaysian Grand Prix would go to Nick          number of rival cars from as early as this
  independent teams for doing exactly what        Heidfeld, leaving the Spaniard on top of       coming weekend in China and certainly by
  it is hoped they will do under a budget cap,    the championship with 11.5 points, ahead       the time the European season begins in
  would run at crossed purpose to its vision of   of Heidfeld on nine and Toro Rosso drivers     May.


  n Felipe Massa and Adrian
Sutil have joined the Grand
Prix Drivers’ Association,
following the lead of Lewis
Hamilton earlier this season.
Kimi Raikkonen is now the
only active F1 driver who is
not a member of the GPDA.
   n BMW has promised to
provide its drivers with a
lighter car by the time the
European season begins
in Spain. With the current
car too heavy to allow
Robert Kubica to run KERS,
a lighter version should
allow the Pole to utilise
the technology for the
remainder of the season.
  n Malaysian GP organisers
have admitted they are
looking at a change in race
start time for 2010 after
this year’s farcical ending.
They are currently debating
a night race, although the
weekend’s mess in Qatar for
the MotoGP may force them
to reconsider.
  n Renault was in Dubai
last week for one of its
global roadshows. Things
got off to a bad start when
multiple Rally Champion
and FIA Vice President of
Sport Mohammed Ben
Sulayem shunted one of the
team’s R28 cars after 100
metres on a drag strip.
  n Enrico Zanarini has
announced he will step
down from his role as
Team Principal of the FMS
GP2 team. Full day-to-day
running of the team passes
back to Paolo Coloni.

                                                                                       >> F1 NEWS

n called before World Council
  Dave Ryan is gone, but will it be enough to keep the WMSC off troubled team’s back?
                                         MCLAREN has been called to             anyone at the team.
                                         appear before the FIA World               There is a growing feeling that
                                         Motor Sport Council for the            the ultimate call to withhold the
                                         second time in two years, to           information from the stewards
                                         answer charges that it has             had come from Ron Dennis,
                                         breached Article 151c of the           the ultimate source of power
                                         International Sporting Code            and influence at McLaren. It is
                                         and brought the sport into             rumoured that Dennis’ alleged
                                         disrepute.                             involvement in the affair is
                                            The team has been called to         what has led to the souring
                                         answer allegations that it broke       of relations between him,
                                         the Article, which states that an      Hamilton and his management.
                                         individual or team may be found           The World Motor Sport
                                         to be in breach of the FIA’s own       Council will meet on April 29th
                                         regulations for “any fraudulent        to discuss McLaren’s guilt in the
                                         conduct or any act prejudicial to      affair and potential punishment.
                                         the interests of any competition       With no limit to the penalty
                                         or to the interests of motor           it can extend to the team,
                                         sport generally,” on five different    McLaren will be only too aware
                                         counts.                                of the last time it went before
                                            McLaren began the last week         the Council in 2007, charged
                                         by dismissing former Sporting          again with a breach of Article
                                         Director Dave Ryan, who had            151c amidst the spying scandal
                                         been suspended over the                that rocked F1. In 2007 the
                                         weekend of the Malaysian               WMSC found McLaren guilty
                                         Grand Prix for his role in the         of a breach. With the decision
                                         post-Australian Grand Prix             appealed, the International
                                         hearing that saw Ryan and              Court of Appeal decided to
                                         Lewis Hamilton lie to race             award McLaren a record US
                                         stewards.                              $100 million fine and strip it of
                                            Later on in the week, it was        its 2007 world championship
                                         confirmed by FIA Race Director         points.
                                         Charlie Whiting that Hamilton             A similar penalty would
                                         and Ryan had continued to lie          not be unthinkable in 2009,
                                         when the stewards’ meeting             particularly as this is the second
                                         was reconvened in Malaysia,            time McLaren has been called to
                                         until recordings of team radio         appear before them on similar
                                         transmissions left the duo with        charges, but the WMSC may
                                         no option other than to admit          wish to make a more immediate
                                         that they had been economical          and potentially damaging
                                         with the truth.                        punishment by excluding
                                            With McLaren letting Ryan go,       McLaren from races in the 2009
                                         it could fall to Hamilton to testify   season.
                                         alone at the hearing, as team             Current thoughts rest at
                                         principal Martin Whitmarsh             between a three and five race
                                         has continually stated that the        exclusion, which would see
                                         decision to withhold the truth         McLaren miss the opening
                                         from the stewards had been a           races of the European season
                                         decision taken by Ryan himself         and could include Monaco and
                                         and transmitted to Hamilton            one or both of the team’s home
                                         without the knowledge of               races in Britain and Germany.

                                                                                           Sutil quer

                                                                     Aussie Cossie?
                                                                     COSWORTH may well be back on the Formula
                                                                     1 grid soon, with Team USF1 boss Peter
                                                                     Windsor linking the new team to the famous

Desperate times
                                                                     engine manufacturer.
                                                                        Windsor told Autosport that Cosworth was
                                                                     on the drawing board in terms of the team’s

at Ferrari
                                                                     technical makeup, which it is currently working
                                                                       “The Cosworth engine is certainly an
                                                                     attractive proposition,” he was quoted as
FERRARI has announced             will be a new diffuser if those      “It is homologated; those guys were doing a
a radical shake-up of its         under appeal at the ICA are        great job with Red Bull Racing when Red Bull
operational structure in          found legal this week.             suddenly switched to Renault.
a bid to resolve the many           The shift will also see team       “A lot of people who were at Cosworth have
managerial, procedural and        manager Luca Baldisserri,          left, but equally there are a lot of good people
competitive issues that have      pictured, take on a factory-       still there too. That is a really interesting thing
blighted its start to the 2009    based role, with his position at   for us. Apart from anything else, Cosworth is
Formula 1 season.                 race weekends now filled by        now owned by an American, Kevin Kalkhoven,
  The team has set up a           Chris Dyer.                        and that is a nice little link for us as well.
Working Department, to be           The changes are a bold and         “The idea of working with a small specialist
led by Technical Director         swift response from team           company is kind of in-tune with the way we are
Aldo Costa, whose role will       principal Stefano Domenicali       operating as a race team as well.”
be to fast-track immediate        as Ferrari aims to turn around        The only glitch in Windsor’s plan? Kalkhoven
improvements for the F60. It is   its season following its worst     is actually from Adelaide in South Australia, not
expected that the first item on   start to a campaign in 17          the United States …
the new department’s agenda       years.

                                                                                     >> F1 NEWS

ries FIA’s racial neutrality        ADRIAN Sutil has questioned            season test at Barcelona in early
                                    whether there might be racial          2008, established its ‘Everyrace’ anti-
                                    motivation behind the number           racism campaign and website.
                                    of punishments handed to Lewis           “One thing that most attracted
                                    Hamilton by the FIA.                   me to motor sport was that nobody
                                       Sutil, a former F3 team-mate of     cared about your background, race,
                                    Hamilton’s and one of the Briton’s     gender or religion; all that mattered
                                    best friends, made the comment in      was how quick you were,” said FIA
                                    his blog on Dutch website Formule      President Max Mosley when the
                                    1 Race Report.                         campaign was launched at the
                                      “Lewis must be sick of this. I       2008 Spanish Grand Prix
                                    have no idea how he has got so            “The sport is all about a driver’s
                                    many punishments,” he told the         ability and this will never have
                                    magazine. “Gradually you start to      anything to do with their race or
                                    ask yourself why it always happens     the colour of their skin,” Bernie
                                    to him. Is it because he has another   Ecclestone confirmed at the time.
                                    skin colour?”                             With his friend back in the
                                       The comment is sure to anger        dock and at the centre of an ever-
                                    the FIA which, in light of racially    increasing controversy, it would
                                    motivated aggression towards           appear that Adrian Sutil, for one, is
                                    Hamilton in 2007 and at a pre-         not convinced.

  All roads lead to Shanghai ...
  Nico Rosberg gives new meaning to the term ‘blind corners’

>> F1 NEWS

Liuzzi in at Force India?
RUMOURS that Tonio Liuzzi will make
a return to Formula 1 race action this
season at the wheel of one of the Force
India cars took another step forward last
week as the Italian made his debut in the
A1GP series.
   Liuzzi’s sudden and unexpected debut
in the championship marked his first
competitive single-seater outing since
the end of the 2007 F1 season and saw
the Italian immediately on the pace in
an unfamiliar car and on an unfamiliar
   He took pole position for the sprint
race at the Portimao track in the Algarve,
Portugal, at his first attempt, sealing the
first ever pole position for Team Italy in the
   Liuzzi missed out on a podium in that         unfortunate,” he confirmed.                   Adrian Sutil or countryman Giancarlo
sprint race after a slow pitstop from              “We’ll be coming to Brands Hatch with a     Fisichella before the end of the 2009
Team Italy and was set for a podium in           lot of experience and we hope to be even      season should either driver fail to meet
the second race until Team USA’s Marco           more competitive than here at Portimao.”      the expectations of Force India owner and
Andretti collided with Liuzzi, taking them          It is believed that Liuzzi has a clause    Team Principal Vijay Mallya.
and Team Monaco’s Clivio Piccione out on         in his contract that will hand him a race       With a Formula 1 testing ban in place,
the spot.                                        seat with Force India in 2010, however        racing in A1GP is seen by many as the
  “We were really motivated to show how          his sudden move back into single-seater       perfect way for the Italian to get back
we could run up front, the car was running       competition has given renewed vigour          up to race fitness in preparation for a
well but the ending has been really              to the rumours that he will replace either    potential return to F1.

 Virgin Wins!                                                            Airtime – Australian GP
                                                                         Top 10, 2008
                                                                         #    Brand           Time
                                                                                                            Top 10, 2009
                                                                                                            #    Brand              Time
                                                                         1    Vodafone        16:47s        1    Virgin             08:47s
                                                                         2    Mercedes Benz   09:10s        2    Panasonic          08:16s
                                                                         3    Bridgestone     06:38s        3    Red Bull           07:59s
                                                                         4    RBS             06:14s        4    Alpinestars        07:28s
                                                                         5    Mobil 1         05:38s        5    “Marlboro Blank”   07:19s
                                                                         6    Red Bull        05:02s        6    Toyota             06:38s
                                                                         7    Boss            05:00s        7    Brawn              05:54s
                                                                         8    BMW             04:35s        8    Bridgestone        05:45s
                                                                         9    Intel           04:30s        9    RBS                04:47s
                                                                         10   AT&T            04:19s        10   Ferrari            04:43s

FORMULA 1’s newest sponsor           of Jenson Button and Rubens        are half those achieved by        Formula 1 in the opening
scooped the most airtime at          Barrichello, Virgin hit the        Vodafone in the same event in     race of 2009, the biggest
the opening race of the 2009         number one position with           2008 – a clear sign that while    leap in visibility was made
season, according to recently        a total on-screen presence         Richard Branson’s company         by racewear and clothing
released statistics collated by      of almost nine minutes, just       has had an immediate impact       company Alpinestars, which
brand awareness specialists          ahead of Toyota F1’s title         on F1 sponsorship, his decals     had a 1-2-3 on the podium
Margaux Matrix.                      sponsor Panasonic and Red          do perhaps need to be better      and jumped up a massive 56
  As the only visible sponsor        Bull.                              positioned if he and his brand    positions on its presence at
logos other than the team’s             Virgin may have been the        are to recoup the maximum         the 2008 Australian Grand Prix
own decal and the compulsory         most televised brand during        reward for their involvement.     to sit fourth with just under
Bridgestone stickers on the          the Australian Grand Prix, but       While Virgin was the most       seven and a half minutes of on-
all-conquering BrawnGP cars          its figures of on-screen time      successful new brand to enter     screen time.
  n Will Sete and Valentino
ever be friends again?
The soap opera was
cranked up again at a pre-
race conference when
each professed a desire
that it might happen.
They fell out, apparently
terminally, at the first Qatar
GP after Rossi blamed
Gibernau for reporting a
rules infringement. It was
Gibernau’s last win.
  n The Qatar crowd may be
small – at 6,500 it was 1,000
more than last year – but they
deserved a medal for good-
natured patience when they
paid to watch three races
on Sunday night, but saw

less than half that number.
A smattering of the same
people returned on Monday

   n Trackside pundits

                                   race did not plea
described the four-lap 125
race as the shortest ever. Not
so. Last year’s French 125
GP was a five-lap dash, but
over a shorter distance on
the smaller Le Mans circuit
– 20.925 km compared with
Sunday’s 21.52. Lap-wise, the
Isle of Man TT races over the
                                   THE decision to postpone             association IRTA, Dorna and the      September, to take advantage
1960s and 1970s were run
                                   rather than cancel the               Qatar Motor and Motorcycle           of the vacant slot left by the
over just three laps.
                                   Qatar MotoGP race was                Federation, the postponement         cancellation of the Hungarian
  n The single-engine rule         a controversial and                  triggered frantic activity through   GP.
for Moto2 has been ratified,       divided decision, carried            the night for team co-ordinators       “The ‘teams’ decision to race
according to an MSMA               overwhelmingly in the end by         and travel agents, while other       was not unanimous, but it
statement at Qatar. But            the pressure of the majority of      snatched some daylight sleep.        was overwhelming,” said IRTA
who will the supplier be?          the teams.                              It also found a mixed reaction    president Hervé Poncharal.
Speculation is rife, as we            There was no argument about       among riders, who were not           HRC were not keen on the
reported last week, including      stopping on Sunday night. Race       consulted at any stage. Most         postponement, given Pedrosa’s
Kawasaki, Honda and Ilmor,         direction had decreed at last        were glad to race after having       conditions; while Ducati were
but nobody in authority was        year’s pioneering night-time         come this far, but a contingent      also not in favour – with Hayden
saying anything.                   race that rain would prevent         of the injured (like Dani Pedrosa)   still battered and also short
                                   any on-track action, due to          would have been only too             of tyres the team would have
  n The return of the racing
                                   spray and track reflections in the   pleased to give it a miss.           preferred not to race.
Russians: Vladimir Leonov,
                                   floodlighting. But while some           But Stoner was one to                Tyres were a major talking
racing a 250 Aprilia to 18th, is
                                   were anxious to race whenever        question the decision, on the        point. With the postponed
the first Russian in racing for
                                   it might be possible, others         economic grounds that if it          race scheduled for 9pm local
many years. The last Russian
                                   thought it should have been          should rain again, it would only     time, two hours earlier than
to score points was Nikolaj
                                   cancelled outright.                  cost more, and be throwing           planned and slightly warmer, it
Sevostyanov in 1968, when
                                      The postponement was agreed       good money after bad.                remained to be seen whether
he rode the little-known
                                   upon by an ad hoc committee             One suggestion that did not       Bridgestones carefully selected
Vostok four-cylinder GP 500.
                                   comprising the FIM, teams            get far was to return to Qatar in    compounds would suffer in
                                                                                                  >> Moto GP news

                                              Shortened practice
                                              costs some dearly
                                              THE new shortened practice – cut in all classes –
                                              had an immediate effect on the racing, causing
                                              various problems for several riders. And there
                                              will be worse to come, predicted Valentino Rossi.
                                                 MotoGP has seen pre-race track time slashed
                                              from four hours and 20 minutes to just over two-
                                              and-a-half hours, with all classes cut from four
                                              practice sessions to three.
                                                 One victim was Nicky Hayden, right, who lost a
                                              chunk of valuable time with an engine failure out
                                              on the track in the second free practice; and there
                                              was a general feeling that all could have done with
                                              more time to get ready.
                                                “Maybe it was not so much of a problem here,
                                              because we have tested here. But when we get to
                                              Motegi and other tracks where we had no test time,
                                              some riders will be struggling more,” said Rossi.
                                                 In the 250 class, Alex Debon demonstrated the
                                              problems of having only one bike when he missed
                                              almost the whole of the first session; while in the

ase all
                                              125s Simon was on tenterhooks after crashing after
                                              the red flag stopped the race, in case he would
                                              have to restart on a damaged bike.
                                                 In fact MotoGP and 250 riders are still allowed to
                                              have two machines. At present only the 125 class
                                              is confined to one. But from next year, cost-cutting
                                              rules have decreed that the same rule will apply
                                              also to MotoGP.

                                              Pedrosa counts success
 terms of endurance.
    Rossi joked that it was all his fault –
 for once he had packed his suitcase
 and checked out of his hotel before

                                              as merely taking part
 the race, something he never normally
   “Tomorrow I will leave my suitcase at
 the hotel!”
    But he also summed up an                  DANI Pedrosa was satisfied with his return            “We’ve made it into the race, and that was
 increasingly lukewarm feeling among          at Qatar after a heavy crash during testing at      the point of coming to Qatar,” he said.
 the riders to the whole concept of           the same circuit had forced him to miss the            Pedrosa broke his wrist and hurt his knee
 racing at night.                             final pre-season tests – if only because he         in the testing crash, with the latter injury
   “We should never do it again,” he said.    proved he was at least able to take part.           the longer-lasting and more troublesome:
   “Maybe if all the riders decide to not       The luckless Spaniard’s participation had         especially since he needed a large skin graft
 race, for sure they change their minds.      been in doubt until days before the event:          on the knee. It was the risk of splitting the
   “I prefer to race in the day, and I said   though he flew to Qatar during the week, he         graft that meant he was unable to even start
 this from the first day, because there is    was still not sure he would be able to ride.        bending his knee until less than a fortnight
 no advantage to race in the night. It is       The first practice session saw him circulate      before the race.
 for nothing.                                 steadily in last position, 4.3 seconds off the        “The leg feels a little better and I pushed
   “I hope at least that race tracks like     pace … but he had completed 17 laps, and            harder today than yesterday … though this
 Sepang” (which was contemplating             was ready to up the pace the next day, closing      situation is not something that is fixed after
 a night race to avoid the heat) “after       the gap to 2.4 seconds and placing 14th.            one day,” he said.
 today will change their decision.”
     Qatar wins
     Race of
     the Year
     EYEBROWS were raised, especially in the light of
     subsequent events, when Qatar was announced
     as winner of the IRTA trophy for the best race of
     the year in 2008.
       The award is voted for by the teams, taking
     facilities, services and organisation into account.
     One of the biggest factors, said IRTA president
     Hervé Poncharal, was the track’s safety, with
     massive gravel traps and run-off areas.
       Rossi was one who expressed surprise at the
     award, nominating Mugello as his personal race of
     the year.
      “This is the best GP for the quiet in the paddock,”
     he joked.
      “But sincerely for me racing in Jerez or in Mugello
     with a lot, a lot of people is another atmosphere
     and is a lot better than here.”

     Stoner: another operation?
     CASEY Stoner may need further          movement in the wrist.
     surgery to free up his still             An X-ray has shown that the
     troublesome left wrist – but only      bone graft is slightly too large,
     after the season.                      Stoner revealed to pressmen. If it
       An investigation at a Swiss clinic   does not wear itself into shape over
     has given him a clue as to the         the coming three months, a further
     problems he is still having.           operation might be required to
       Stoner had complained of slow        grind the insert down to size.
     healing and continuing problems,        “I’ve still got no more movement,
     although nothing that has affected     but now I understand why,” said
     his performance on the bike. The       Stoner.
     worst problem is a lack of lateral      “It gave me peace of mind.”

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                                                                                          >> Moto GP news

Hayden bounces back
from 205kph crash
NICKY Hayden’s 100th GP,          of injuries paid off in points,     and fluid on the track until          big ones and threw me off.
and his first on the factory      as well as in giving him more       Toseland came past and                It knocked the breath out of
Ducati, was a testing and         valuable time to get to terms       signalled him to stop.                me, but it didn’t knock me
painful experience, as            with the Ducati.                      “It actually didn’t blow up.        out and I didn’t break nothing.
sundry bike problems and a          Nicky’s fastest lap of the        Something came off or broke           They were worried about my
huge practice crash kept him      race was his last, as he moved      something, so it was running          back.”
from making that last step        ahead of Gibernau’s private         fine when Toseland signalled             Investigation cleared him
up to join Stoner in the front.   machine, closing a weekend          me. When I looked back I              of any fractures, but a wound
  Once again amazing rookie       when bike troubles had              got off the track as quick as         on his chest needed stitching.
Mika Kallio, finishing eighth     cost him practice time, and         possible. There was going to          Nothing daunted he came
on the satellite Alice machine,   culminated in an on-track           be oil everywhere.”                   back to the track to race.
was the second-best Ducati.       blow-up on the second free             In the afternoon, on a hot           “Once they told me there
But Hayden could be pleased       session.                            lap, he crashed.                      wasn’t nothing broken, I said,
with 12th, not least because        Hayden didn’t realise he            “It’s where you flick it left       sure, I need to race and learn
his decision to race in spite     was leaving a trail of smoke        again and it gave a couple of         a lot and do a lot of stuff.”

Simoncelli, second
scaphoid victim, pulls out
GILERA-mounted 250                 but his own decision was to          right hand, affecting his
champion Marco Simoncelli          stop.                                throttle and front brake.
made the worst possible              “I was able to do a couple of        He fractured the wrist in
start to his title defence,        fast laps, but my hand quickly       a motocross training crash
pulling out of the opening         got sore and I can’t ride as I’d     last weekend, and a screw
round after the first two free     like,” he explained.                 was inserted into the broken
practice sessions to allow his       “Now I’d prefer to not race,       scaphoid on Tuesday.
freshly broken wrist more          because of the risk for the rest       Simoncelli’s comfort was that
time to recover.                   of the season.”                      he won the title last year in
  He had placed 14th, less            Like Stoner, the affected         spite of failing to score in the
than 1.5 seconds down and          bone is the scaphoid, a slow-to-     opening two rounds … and
running a full 16 laps. Medical    heal injury that racers dread;       that his great rival Bautista was
advice cleared him to continue,    unlike Stoner it is Simoncelli’s     only seventh in the race.

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the photo-artists at Sutton Images.                                     Supercars?
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                                                                        eNews ...
   n VW and Opel teams have
announced they will contest
IRC rallies this year. The
Belgian Rene Georges VW
                                     Citroen tests its ‘Spy Car’ in
                                     DANI Sordo tested Citroen’s hybrid C4 WRC in Algarve the day
Polo S2000 team are to run
                                     after the end of the Vodafone Rally of Portugal.
French driver Julien Maurin
                                        The twin-engined car was driven on asphalt stages in the area,
in six events starting at round
                                     using many features parallel to KERS-equipped cars in F1. These
4 (Azores) while Irishman
                                     include access to 30 percent more torque at the switch of a button,
Gareth MacHale plans to
                                     when both the electric and the orthodox engine work together.
run an Opel Corsa S2000 at
                                        Dani explained the curious spy-car character of the car:
five events starting round 5
                                       “In electric mode you can drive through villages without making
                                     the slightest noise, which is very unusual for a competitor car –
  n No registered drivers            better for the environment and more comfortable for the crew,
scored points in New                 making road sections more pleasant!”.
Caledonia, first round of               This test followed three days after FIA President Max Mosley said
the FIA’s APRC series. The           he was thinking of introducing more eco-friendly measures into
second half of the event was         rallying when systems had been perfected in Formula 1.
cancelled because of heavy
rain. International event
winner was Subaru driver
Claude Clavel while the
national category winner was
Alexis Barbou (Mitsubishi).
   n Another rainy day
story ... the opening round
in the Malaysian Rally
Championship was halted
in mid-afternoon on Day 1
by torrential storms. Winner
was Mike Ari Ratnam (Proton
Wira) while Saladin Mazlan
led the rally before starter
motor failure in his Proton
Gen 2. 2002 World Group N
champion Karamjit Singh was            Hybrid testing – Dani Sordo tests the hybrid
fastest on every stage and
finished ninth despite a 15
minute penalty.
  n Eugene Donnelly
scored his 16th Irish Tarmac
championship rally when he
won the Circuit of Ireland.
His Skoda Fabia WRC finished
ahead of Eamonn Boland’s
Impreza WRC.
   n Former European rally
champion Patrick Snijers was
a shock non-starter at the
opening round of the Belgian
series, the TAC Tielt Rally, after
a speeding offence during
recce. Paul Lietaer won in
a Subaru WRC car ahead of
Melissa Debackere in a Toyota
Corolla WRC. Both Peter
Tsjoen and Tim van Parijs
went off the road in their
Focus WRCars.
                                                                  >> WRC news

in Portugal Why so many crashes
            in Portugal?
             The 43rd Vodafone Rally of Portugal was        was run as an IRC event, and the route was
             a horrendous experience for drivers at         substantially different to that of the World
             every level.                                   Championship rally in 2007.
               Drivers who fell off the road in Portugal      Then there was the significant problem of
             and had to retire included Latvala, Novikov,   dust, which was potentially so challenging
             Rautenbach, Gronholm, Bonato, Thomas,          that the organisers ordered all the cars to
             Sousa, Mayer, Prive, Flodin, Tarabus and       run at two-minute intervals, not just the
             Sandell. Plenty more drivers went off the      top cars.
             road but were able to continue ...               But it wasn’t just the dust during the
               Even Sebastien Loeb said it was quite        event – it was the dust during the recce
             out of the ordinary – but why? The weather     which caused the trouble. One co-driver
             was clear, the stages were well within         could not understand why they went off
             the acceptable level of roughness. It was      the road:
             everything else which made this a recipe        “Somehow the note was wrong but I
             for accidents for everyone concerned.          didn’t know why!”
               Firstly, the stages were very technical,       During the second run through the
             with corners which were difficult for a        stages later that day, came the realisation
             driver to read in the normal way.              of just how much a dust bowl it had been
               Secondly none of the top drivers             during recce:
             competed here in 2008, when the event           “Suddenly we realised that there were two
                                                            bends at that place, and we never knew it ....”

Dani Sordo

               Marcus Gronholm (FIN) and his damaged Subaru.

             No manufacturers?
             You’re kidding!
             Oliver Quesnel (Team Principal at Citroen Total) has reacted to FIA
             President Max Mosley’s opinion that World Championship rallying
             could be successful without manufacturers’ teams.
               “For me if there are no more manufacturers, there won’t be so many
               “I can’t see the sport going on without manufacturers at the highest
             level. Without the manufacturers you won’t get the cars, drivers or
             money and maybe the media.
               “Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so …”

Three championships
for co-driver Bernacchini
35 year-old Italian co-driver Giovanni Bernacchini,
son of the legendary Portugal Rally-winning Fiat
team co-driver Arnaldo, is competing this year with
two drivers, in three FIA championships!
   Sitting alongside Nasser Al Attiyah he is contesting
both the PCWRC and the Middle East series, and
is competing in the European Rally Championship
alongside fellow Italian Luca Betti.
  “Everything was going well until the Middle East
organisers changed the dates for Jordan and for
Syria, so it will mean having to miss Valais, Ypres and
Madeira which is upsetting,” he explained.
   The season started well with outright victory with
Nasser in Kuwait and then they came fourth in PCWRC
in Portugal. His programme with Betti starts at the
Mille Miglia.

 European series starts                                                                                  Petter’s
 The FIA’s European
 championship starts its 57th
                                     enter the necessary six rallies
                                     this year.
                                                                       exciting new project is the
                                                                       Kimera team which will run a
 season this weekend at the            Peugeots are strongly fancied   Peugeot for Luca Betti.
 Mille Miglia on the shores of       in this year’s ERC. Leading         There are 11 rounds of
 Lake Garda in North Italy.          drivers are Michal Solowow        the series, and drivers must
   This event doubles up as a        from Poland and Corrado           start in six to qualify for the
 round of the Italian national       Fontana from Italy, while an      championship.                     A Monaco hospital has
 series but the rival                                                                                    provisionally diagnosed
 Italian championship                                                                                    Petter Solberg’s illness after
 Peugeot, Subaru                                                                                         Cyprus Rally as being a form
 and Fiat teams are                                                                                      of Legionnaires’ disease.
 missing the event,                                                                                        Petter’s PR agent says that a
 due to an unexpected                                                                                    full report is awaited and until
 expansion of the                                                                                        then they can’t not confirm
 Italian series for                                                                                      these suspicions.
 which these teams                                                                                         After several days bed-
 had not budgeted.                                                                                       ridden, Petter appeared to be
    For this reason,                                                                                     recovered and was in fine form
 reigning European                                                                                       in Portugal where he scored
 champion Luca                                                                                           fourth place in his eight year-
 Rossetti is not due                                                                                     old Citroen Xsara WRC, even if
 to appear but his                                                                                       he felt tired.
 Fiat teammate Basso                                                                                       He regretted that his
 will. Basso, the 2006                                                                                   weakness had prevented him
 champion, is aiming                                                                                     from fully celebrating his third
 to regain the ERC title                                                                                 place in Cyprus … and was
 this year, and must                                                                                     talking endlessly about his
 take part if he is to                                                                                   recent drive in a Formula 1
                                                   >> WRC news

Six downtown stages in Australia
Officially published route details for the
World Championship Repco Rally Australia
reveal that there will be no fewer than 35
special stages!
  These will be held at 16 different venues,
with long road sections and early morning
starts each day, and six round-the-houses
stages on asphalt.
  Environmental considerations have been
a major consideration in planning the route,
in an area noted for its diversity of plant and
animal species, where the climate is humid
and warm.
  At 1683km, the total distance of the rally is
expected to be the longest of the season.
  The rally is to be based at the Salt resort at
Kingscliff, just inside the New South Wales,
adjacent to the Queensland border. The
whole event will run within NSW but with
international access through Brisbane. It will
feature two main hubs, at Murwillumbah
(where the start is held, and where the
asphalt superspecials are to be run) and
Kyogle, where there will be a remote service
park on the final day.

             5 MINUTES WITH ...

                    ANDREA DOVIZIOSO
Dovi is a different kind of hot-shot. The quiet Italian spoke with MICHAEL SCOTT in the
lead-up to the weekend’s Qatar season-opener
GPWEEK: You’ve jumped off a         that good. Is this factory ride     You’ve been following a                 find every kind of food there,
privateer Honda straight onto       the pay-off? The big prize?         few years behind Rossi                  and it is really, really good. I
the latest pneumatic-valve-         (Laughs) I think so. Now I          throughout your career. Even            have a few English friends
spring factory machine. Is it a     am in one of the best teams         in pocket-bikes. Do you ever            because my management is in
big difference?                     in MotoGP. I made some              feel under his shadow?                  England, and I have friends in
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO: The bike          good years in 125 and 250.          When I start with pocket bike           that company.
is a big difference. Especially     Sometimes it was too hard for       he finished with them. So I
the technique. The power is         the victory.                        already knew him. But at that           You always used to race with
much, much more, all the              But now I am here and I am        age I didn’t think about that.          the number 34. That has
traction control and electronic     happy to be here. To be with                                                been “retired” in the MotoGP
systems.                            HRC in MotoGP is … like a           And now? Is it the same as              class when Kevin Schwantz
   I have much more … we            dream.                              Melandri said to me once:               retired, so you had to change.
have too many things we need                                            he’s just another rider to              Did you choose it because of
to understand, about my style,      In those 250 years, did you         you?                                    Kevin?
the bike setting, the electronic    every think about switching         No, no. It’s special. He’s maybe        There is not one reason. My
system, engine character and        to Aprilia, to get a better title   the best rider on the world for         number was always 34 from
everything.                         chance?                             ever. So I am happy to fight            when I start pocket bike. And I
                                    Of course. Because every year       with him. My dream is to beat           admired Schwantz a lot when I
Of course you’re also on new        Aprilia tried to take me. Many      him before he finishes his              was young.
tyres – the Bridgestones. How       things happened one year to         career.
about the change there?             the next. One year Honda did                                                Obviously your next target
We need to understand how to        not give me what they said.         Are you friends at all?                 is MotoGP. Anything beyond
put the weight and the stress       But I always believed in Honda,     Aaah. A little bit. It’s difficult in   that? Do you think about cars
on the tyre. Everyone seems to      and now … now I am happy            our world. But yeah … he is a           for the future?
be putting more weight on the       about that.                         funny guy.                              I like cars, especially rally cars.
rear, and we also. But I am still                                                                               But it is too early to think
not 100 percent.                    You’re from Forli, not far from     There was some talk that you            about that.
  The new rules have made           Rimini and Misano. With you,        and he practised motocross
things much worse for us. With      Rossi, Simoncelli, Melandri,        together.                               What do you drive?
the testing reduced, and still a    Pasini, and so many other           Well … we tried, but it was             A Volvo (another pause, as if
lot of things to try even at the    riders from round there – is        very difficult to find the time         embarrassed by the suggestion
last test at Jerez, we don’t have   there something in the water?       at the same time.                       of playing the superstar). And I
enough time.                        I think it is just the mentality.                                           have an R8 Audi.
                                    In that part there are so many      Your generation missed out
The first race is here, and         short pocket-bike tracks. So        on the chance ever to race              That’s a bit more like it!
you’re still learning the bike?     everybody tries to race. That’s     a 500 two-stroke. Is that a             Back to the racing. At Qatar,
It’s coming better. Through the     why many fast riders come           regret?                                 you’re looking a bit more
tests, we learned a lot about       from there.                         Yes, sure. It’s a really difficult      comfortable than at the tests.
the electronic system already          If you race pocket bikes from    bike. Really strong. I would            How are you feeling?
at Qatar, and we tried many         the age of six to 14 … it’s the     like to try it at some time.            Very excited in my first official
things. Honda brought some          best training. You learn about      Unfortunately I never had the           practice riding for HRC – even
things to Jerez to make the         racing … it’s very important.       chance to try one.                      more than last year when I
power less aggressive, and it’s                                                                                 made my debut in MotoGP.
also better, though not enough.     You started so young – was          Your English is pretty good               We have improved things
   My feeling is not 100 percent.   it a family thing? Did your         nowadays. Do you still live in          compared to the last test, but
We still need to improve …          father race?                        London?                                 we still have some issues with
need to understand everything.      Yes, but with motocross. He’s       (Long pause) Now, yes. But I            the machine to sort out. I
                                    still racing. I started with        need to think about the future.         think racing suits my style and
You’ve stayed with Honda            motocross, and I still go           They say you learn good                 mentality better than practice,
through your career, even           training with motocross. I love     English but eat bad food …              so I’m looking forward to
when the bike, the 250, wasn’t      motocross.                          but the good point is you can           tomorrow.


                email us at

Outsde the square in KL!
Being flavour of the month at GPWeek (one
                                                       Keeping It Real                                  something completely different. My
letter published, one honourable mention in

                                                                                                        hunch is that, should the appeal be
Editorial) perhaps I can suggest something                                                              thrown out, Red Bull won’t bother with
radical concerning the now-infamous                                       WIll                          the diffuser at all just yet.
Malaysian GP – change the start time to 8am.
   Early morning rain in the Kuala Lumpur area                            Buxton                           And why? Because they’ve got a very
                                                                                                        fast car already. So too does BMW, and
is rare, not impossible, but considerably less                            GPWeek Editor                 one which will only become faster
likely than late afternoon. The sky starts to                                                           when it is trimmed down in weight for
brighten before 7am and by 8am the sun is               Politics, lies, protests, racism… it’s          the European season. Force India, too,
usually burning off the overnight humidity,             good to have Formula 1 back, isn’t it?          is already thinking about KERS and
and temperatures are much more pleasant                   What a shame, though, that the                diffusers as it strives for its first points.
than later in the day.                                  majority of the headlines have been                Which just leaves McLaren, Ferrari
   An 8am start means a viewing time of                 created for the wrong reasons.                  and Renault in trouble. And that’s really
midnight Saturday night in the UK, 1am                    Thankfully the diffuser issue will be         rather refreshing. It’s like turning on the
Sunday in Central Europe and 8pm Saturday               resolved one way or another this week.          TV and watching Manchester United get
night in eastern North America. Late morning            A decision in favour of the design will         stuffed by a non-league team. You can’t
in Australia. What could be better? Move the            mean a rush by its protesters to produce        help but have a wry smile to yourself.
race a few weeks later in the calendar and              something similar and may yet see                  Ferrari is restructuring, Renault is
those viewing times become one hour earlier.            ground effect sneak its way back into F1        seemingly scrabbling to understand a
   Who would suffer? Well, it wouldn't be               through the back door. Red Bull will be         car it thought it had a handle on and
pleasant for the F1 teams, but they claim they          the team with the most to do as its pull-       McLaren… oh dear God, where on earth
will work any time and, in any case they have           rod suspension leaves no room for such          do we start with that one?
to suffer a variety of time changes, so I doubt         a diffuser. All in all it means sticking with      A slow car, a team in disarray… if I feel
they'd complain.                                        what is already showing itself to be a          sorry for anyone right now it is Martin
   Racegoers would have to get up early, but            good car or sacrificing it all on designing     Whitmarsh. He’s paid his dues, done his
is there much difference between going to a
race in the dark or going home in the dark?

                                                        An inspired guest app
   Support races could be moved to follow F1,
giving spectators a full day of racing for their
   For sure, something has to be done. No one
can be happy with last weekend's mini-race.
Not even Mr. Ecclestone, despite his claims of                                                          was a very important scoop, not only

increasing the fun, and next year awarding                                                              because of who he is but also because
half medals.                                                          MArtIn                            it showed that Subaru is still a name in
    If he seriously thinks anyone was happy,
he should talk to my friends, a family of five,
                                                                      HolMES                            World Championship sport. It is vital for
                                                                                                        the world championship that people hear
who flew from the UK. Five air fares, five race                       rallies Editor
                                                                                                        about more types of car than just Citroen
tickets, three hotel rooms, and half a race.           Marcus Gronholm’s return to WRC                  and Ford.
   To my mind, an early morning start makes            rallying in Portugal was a breath of fresh         “We feel that Marcus’ entry was perhaps
sense from all angles.                                 air, an inspiration in World Championship        even more important for the international
                      Paul S. Russell, :Kuala Lumpur   rallying, which came at exactly the time         than the national media. Marcus remains
                       when inspirations are sadly absent from          the last person in the sport who was
                                                       the sport.                                       good enough to put up a fight against
Sunday, Sunday                                           The organisers of the Vodafone Rally           Sebastien Loeb – once it was known he
I agreed with everything in the various letters        of Portugal have traditionally reserved a        would be driving on our rally, a lot of extra
last week panning the scheduling of the                budget to attract interesting competitors        international media exposure happened.”
Malaysian F1 GP at 6pm.                                to their event (they persuaded him to               Gronholm’s presence in Portugal was
   Just wait, I thought, none of that rubbish          drive a Zero car last year) and now that the     thus exciting on several levels, but of
happens in MotoGP – really looking forward to          event is over, the importance of having          course there was one further factor – the
that. Roll on Qatar.                                   Marcus there has become even more                performance of the Impreza S14 itself.
   Ooooops .... Whatever happened to Grands            obvious.                                            One of the thoughts which must have
Prix that started just after lunch, when the sun         The rally’s press chief Fernando               been going through the mind of Subaru
was out ...                                            Petronilho explained:                            exile Petter Solberg was whether his
                                 Michael Pettigrew      “We feel that having Marcus on our event        failure to win with the S14 last year, when
                                   Manchester, UK
                                                          >> GPWEEK OPINION

 time and has finally been handed the reins
 of the team… only it is not the team it once
 was, or the team he thought he’d be getting
 his hands on. He’s now got to go to the World
 Motor Sport Council to answer charges of
 bringing th sport into disrepute. Poor chap.
   But while the stories have been of politics
 and errors of judgement, we must not lose
 sight of the fact that so far in 2009 we’ve been
 given one hell of a start to a season. The racing
 has been superb. I mean really great. The
 playoff between KERS and non-KERS cars is
 enthralling in wheel to wheel combat. There’s
 a new order and a new feeling of excitement
 that we could see some very different results
 this season.
   I hope the International Court of Appeal
 makes the right choice this week. I hope the
 racing wins. Because the sport shouldn’t be
 about the politics and the more time we
 spend talking about what goes on behind
 closed doors, the more we’ll have our
 attention diverted from the brilliant season it
 looks like we’ve been handed on a very shiny
 new plate.                                              Red Bull: winners if diffusers banned – lots to do if not!

 the official world championship team was in
 operation, was down to him or the car. That is
 still an open question.
    It is interesting, however, that with the recently
 installed Ohlins shock absorbers and revisions to
 the steering systems, revisions to the two areas
 of the specification of the car which Petter had
 been most unhappy about, Marcus got himself
 up to second place on the rally.
    And he held this position when every top
 driver except Jari-Matti Latvala was still running.
 That was significant.
    Seeing how a driver such as Gronholm would
 fare in the car was expected to tell Subaru quite
 a story.
    There was eventually no firm conclusion
 because Marcus then went off the road and
 that proved something else altogether – our old
 friend from Finland remains not only interesting,
 but human as well!
    And, as an afterthought, that little incident
 must have been noted by Latvala with some
 small degree of satisfaction! …

Taking the lead, Stone
Wrist trouble? What wrist trouble? All Casey Stoner could see in Qatar was a carbon
fibre bike under him, and clear track ahead. MICHAEL SCOTT reports

               >> Moto GP QATAR

er style ...
                ASEY Stoner drew a big line in the sand at Qatar,
                in a desert race that finally came to pass a full 22
                hours later than planned. If he carries on like this,
                nobody will be able to stop him.
        The Australian Marlboro Ducati rider, winner of the title in
     2007, dominated every practice and qualifying session just as
     he had all the tests so far this year.
        When the floodlit race was cancelled due to an
     unprecedented desert storm on Sunday night, he led calls to
     pack up and go home. Over-ruled, he again led the extra pre-
     race warm-up session, and then from the first corner of the
     race to the last.
        Stoner’s run finally laid any doubts about the strength of his
     post-operative left wrist. It was also the first top-class race win
     for a machine with a carbon-fibre chassis – the distinguishing
     feature of the latest Desmosedici GP9.
        He had seized the early advantage while main rival Valentino
     Rossi moved past some troublesome rivals into second place,
     on the third of 22 laps. By then the red Ducati had a lead of
     almost three seconds, and though Rossi worked hard over the
     middle of the race, and cut it back to less than two seconds
     shortly before half distance, it was in vain.
        Stoner kicked again, and had an advantage of 7.7 seconds
     over the line. It was his third win in a row at Qatar.
       “The grip here is not the best, but I don’t mind if the bike
     moves around, from my dirt-track days,” he said. “Anyway, the
     new bike doesn’t throw me around as much as before.”
        Fuel consumption had been a concern, but he had changed
     his style mid-race when Rossi had been closing, to open up
     the gap again. Wrist trouble? Not a jot.
        Rossi looked bleak on the rostrum, but professed himself
     satisfied with second.
       “The track was completely different from yesterday, and I had
     some small problems with the tyre,” he said. “The real problem
     was I lost contact with Casey too early. In the middle of the
     race I was fast enough and I got closer, but it was a little too
     risky, and I decided that it was better to have 20 points.”
        Team-mate Jorge Lorenzo took a safe but distant third,
     finally deposing a charging Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda)
     on lap eight. Dovi continued to fall back to fifth behind yet
     another Yamaha, the impressively ridden Tech 3 machine of
     Colin Edwards.
        Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) held second in the early stages
     while Rossi and Lorenzo bickered behind him. He had dropped
     back to fifth, his bike plainly down on top speed, when he
     finally succumbed to trying too hard to make up for it in the
     corners, sliding off unhurt on Lap 8.
        Alex de Angelis impressed on his privateer San Carlo Honda
     with a forceful ride to sixth, though his position was under
     review – a particularly wild swerve had seen him collide with
     Dani Pedrosa’s factory Repsol Honda, almost knocking the
     returned injury victim off.
        Chris Vermeulen (Rizla Suzuki) had lost touch with him
     in seventh, and was barely second ahead of the impressive
     rookie Mika Kallio (Alice Ducati).
        Elias and de Puniet (both Honda) completed the top 10; the
     pained Pedrosa just held 11th from the injured Nicky Hayden
     (Marlboro Ducati), who closed right up at the finish. Both
     passed the fading Sete Gibernau (Ducati) on the last lap.
        Marco Melandri’s Kawasaki was 14th after he’d run off the
     track to rejoin last.

                >> Moto GP QATAR

Rain, rain, go away: Andrea Dovizioso watched the heavens open
pre-race, above, before going on to finish fourth. Colin Edwards was
impressive on the Tech 3 Yamaha, left,, while Valentino Rossi settled
for second on the factory Yamaha, below. Dani Pedrosa was 11th,
nursing an inury, bottom left.

250: A race for
the brave
THEY waited long enough for the            second Frenchman hung dutifully
weather to clear, and the track was        behind new Mapfre Aprilia team-mate
dry, but dirty and scary, as the 250s      and title favourite Alvaro Bautista until
took off. The race, accordingly, went      the last lap, then shot by to catch and
to the brave.                              pass Raffaele de Rosa for a class debut
  There were surprises all the way.        rostrum.
  First, defending champion Marco            “I could see it was difficult for
Simoncelli (Gilera) pulled out injured.    Bautista, so I passed him,” he glowed.
  Winner Hector Barbera (Pepe World        Bautista, with tyre problems, dropped
Aprilia) was a shaky returnee from         to seventh; while pole starter Hiro
serious injury last year, but took an      Aoyama (Scot Honda) started slow but
assured victory after leading the first    was fast at the end, also passing de
lap.                                       Rosa (his team-mate) for fourth on the
  Alex Debon (Blusens Aprilia)             run to the line.
took over, but was consumed by a              Luthi (Emmi Caffe Latte Aprilia)
huge battle; the next surprise was         made ground at the end, taking sixth
Frenchman Jules Cluzel – hitherto a        ahead of Bautista.
crash-prone privateer – who came              Thai Honda rider Ratthapark Wilairot
through the gang to lead the middle        was inspired in eighth, then Locatelli
part of the race.                          and class rookie Gabor Talmacsi. Mattia
  Barbera finally had his measure,         Pasini was forced out and off at the
but no-one else could catch the            first corner.
Frenchman.                                    It was an exciting start, and the only
  Third was bitterly disputed, in favour   race of the night to even to make part
of 125 champion Mike di Meglio. The        distance and a proper chequered flag.

125: Iannone takes half win
THE half-pint heroes had not even          Lap 5 he took the lead.
half a race, when the start of the           “I was thinking they might stop the
season went off at half-cock in the        race and this might be the last lap.” It
desert rain. At the premature and          was too late, for the red flags came
anticlimactic finish, they ended up        out before they’d completed the lap.
with only half points.                     Simon hadn’t even seen them when he
   The first race of the year, scheduled   slithered off on the now fully wet last
for 18 laps, was not two laps old          corner.
when rain started to fall and lightning       Iannone was happy enough with a
to crackle. They soldiered on for          second victory, promising “if the race
two more before Race Direction             had gone on it would have been a
succumbed to the inevitable, and out       great battle.”
came the red flags.                           Sandro Cortese (Ajo Derbi) took a
   With racing simply out of the           career-first podium, careful to stay on
question from now on, the drama so         after watching Marc Marquez (Red Bull
far had to suffice. Andrea Iannone         KTM) come flying past, only to be the
(ISPA Aprilia) was in the cat-bird seat,   first faller in the damp.
jumping into the lead from the start,         Cortese headed a pack of eight, from
and even taking a little advantage as      Bradley Smith, impressive rookie Jonas
pole qualifier Julian Simon worked his     Folger, Terol, Bradl, Webb and Rabat.
Bancaja Aspar Aprilia back to second          At least the youngest riders on the
place.                                     World Championship grids could get
   The Spaniard closed right up, and on    to bed early, as befits their age.
                                                                                 >> Moto GP QATAR

Hubris on two wheels
 WHAT grand and noble themes were                                                               Why does MotoGP race at night?

 evoked by the MotoGP non-race at                                                            Because Losail has lights, that’s why. No
 Qatar.                                                                                      other really worthwhile reason.
    From the Bible to the New Age                               MIcHAEl                         And why does Losail have lights?
 Gaia creed, encompassing Greek and                             Scott                           Because it can have lights! Not only
 Norse mythology, Sunday night was                              MotoGP Editor                can they afford the installation, with
 also a magnificent illustration of the                                                      gas at a few pence per litre they can
 great themes of classical drama. It              Not that it was going to dry in a hurry    afford to keep them lit. Just having
 illustrated the concepts of both tragedy      on Sunday, even if Musco Lighting had         them fitted proves all these things, with
 and comedy, as well as bathos (an             been able to switch their 3,000-plus          a light signature clearly visible from
 unintentional shift from the sublime to       lights into gigantic hairdryers.              space, and a carbon footprint to match.
 the ridiculous) and pathos (arousing             A storm of such proportions is a              The very act of racing at night, on
 emotions, especially pity or sorrow).         genuine rarity on the Arabian peninsula.      proper specialised racing motorcycles
 And, most especially, hubris.                 A reminder even of the desert floods of       without headlights or any other
    Hubris (thank you, web) is variously       biblical fame. And particularly focused:      provision, is a challenge to … the gods,
 defined as “overweening pride, self-          it swept past to screw up the 125 race        if you like. Or to God. Or to the universe.
 confidence, superciliousness, or              and truncate the 250s, then returned          An act of arrogant and supercilious
 arrogance”, and as the quality that           at precisely the moment the MotoGP            defiance to nature.
“leads the protagonist to break a moral        riders had just selected first and               On Sunday night, nature responded.
 law, attempt vainly to transcend normal       prepared to engage the clutch.                To MotoGP just as to F1 a week before
 limitations or ignore a divine warning …         Let’s recap the facts.                     at Sepang, the universe spoke back.
 with calamitous results.”
    It has been our assertion from
 the beginning that the whole multi-                      MotoGP | round 1 QAtAr
 million dollar illumination of the Losail
                                                   Pos     #      Rider                     Team                         Time
 circuit was a gigantic folly: a vanity
                                                   1       27     Casey Stoner              Ducati Marlboro Team         42:53.984s
 staged purely for one-upmanship. For
 the Qataris, they beat their cash-rich            2       46     Valentino Rossi           Fiat Yamaha Team             +7.771s
 Arab neighbours (especially Dubai)                3       99     Jorge Lorenzo             Fiat Yamaha Team             +16.244s
 with the first floodlit circuit and the           4       5      Colin Edwards             Monster Yamaha Tech 3        +24.410s
 first floodlit World Championship                 5       4      Andrea Dovizioso          Repsol Honda Team            +27.263s
 Grand Prix. For Dorna’s MotoGP, it                6       15     Alex De Angelis           San Carlo Honda Gresini      +29.883s
 was a chance to engage in night                   7       7      Chris Vermeulen           Rizla Suzuki MotoGP          +33.627s
 racing before Formula 1. Both were                8       36     Mika Kallio               Pramac Racing Ducati         +34.755s
 very boastful about it. Right up until            9       24     Toni Elias                San Carlo Honda Gresini      +39.481s
 Sunday’s providential desert storm.               10      14     Randy De Puniet           LCR Honda MotoGP             +42.284s
    We also reported last year that rain
                                                   11      3      Dani Pedrosa              Repsol Honda Team            +48.526s
 would scupper proceedings. This
                                                   12      69     Nicky Hayden              Ducati Marlboro Team         +48.883s
 was already official policy: the riders’
                                                   13      59     Sete Gibernau             Grupo Francisco Hernando     +52.215s
 unilateral “we won’t race” decision
 taken in an advance of this year’s                14      33     Marco Melandri            Hayate Racing Team           +56.379s
 second floodlit GP was way in arrears,            15      72     Yuki Takahashi            Scot Racing Team Honda       +1:00.286s
 quite redundant.                                  16      52     James Toseland            Monster Yamaha Tech 3        +1:14.978s
    Well, rain in the desert? Ha ha ha! Can        17      88     Niccolo Canepa            Pramac Racing Ducati         +1:15.028s
 you see a single green thing anywhere,            DNF     65     Loris Capirossi           Rizla Suzuki MotoGP          +15 Laps
 other than the circuit astroturf?
    Talk about a snowball’s chance in hell.        Points – MotoGP: Stoner 25, Rossi 20, Lorenzo 16, Edwards 13, Dovizioso 11,
    But in fact it does rain surprisingly          De Angelis 10, Vermeulen 9, Kallio 8, Elias 7, De Puniet 6, Pedrosa 5.
 often in Qatar (though nobody told
 the plants). Raindrops rich in grains of         250cc: Hector Barbera 25, Jules Cluzel 20, Mike Di Meglio 16, Hiroshi Aoyama
 desert sand, washed out of the hazy              13, Raffaele De Rosa 11, Thomas Luthi 10, Alvaro Bautista 9.
 atmosphere on the way. So when it
 does dry, it leaves a sandy residue on           125cc: Andrea Iannone 12.5, Julian Simon 10, Sandro Cortese 8, Pol
 every surface.                                   Espargaro 6.5, Bradley Smith 5.5, Jonas Folger 5, Nicolas Terol 4.5.

                                       On his Todt                         Meet Nicolas Todt: driver manager, team
                                                                           manager and one of the most influential
                                                                           and important men in the Formula 1
                                                                           paddock. He’s also one of the quietest
                                                                           and most unassuming people in the
                                                                           sport. WILL BUXTON unravels the mystery
                   GP2 Media Service                                       behind the man with the Midas touch.

              hen Felipe Massa         of his manager. It’s an under-      spending so much time away           with him to some races, when
              was confirmed            reported fact that Nicolas Todt     racing, Nicolas went to live with    he was at Peugeot and then at
              as a Ferrari F1          has played a pivotal role in        his mother. He eventually went       Ferrari. When he joined Ferrari I
              driver for the           ensuring that one quarter of        to business school in Toulouse,      was 16 and I was more mature
2006 season, the media widely          the current F1 grid have got to     graduating in the late nineties      and I really enjoyed that world,
cried foul. At the time, Ferrari       where they are. With his father     and going to work for a French       and then when I started my
was under the unquestioned             long since retired, Nicolas         internet start-up company.           own company, given that motor
control of Jean Todt. His              now stands alone, on his own          “It didn’t do well at the time     racing was my passion, I wanted
results since taking over the          two feet and with his own           because there was a big bubble       to combine my work and my
team had seen him granted              reputation.                         which popped in 2000,” he            passion. That’s how it all started.”
almost godlike status in Italy.           I’ve known Nicolas for getting   admits, “so when that ended             It was in 2003 however that a
Jean Todt was Ferrari, and,            on for five years, and yet it       I decided to set up my own           chance meeting would change
said the press, there was no           was only over the winter that       internet company in Paris and        his life forever.
coincidence that Massa, who            I realised I actually knew very     we started building some               “In 2003 I had the opportunity
was managed by Todt’s own              little about him other than         websites for drivers, sponsors,      to meet Felipe [Massa]. At that
son Nicolas, had got the drive.        the fact he manages two F1          and so on.”                          time his contract had not been
It was nepotism, they said, on         drivers, owns a GP2 team, likes        The decision to link his          renewed by Sauber, he was
the grandest of scales.                to play squash and has a higher     business acumen and web-             a Ferrari test driver and we
   But the move proved inspired.       score than me on the “Who’s         talent with the world of racing      became very good friends very
Massa found his feet at Ferrari,       got the Biggest Brain” game         made perfect sense for the           quickly and then one day he
winning races and growing in           on facebook. Even Wikipedia         young Frenchman.                     came to ask me for some help
stature and confidence with            seems stumped to provide              “When I was growing up I           because he seemed unhappy
each passing season before             answers…                            was very close to my father          with his management. I was
finally coming of age in 2008,            So who is Nicolas Todt, and      but I didn’t see him very much       not much older than him but
taking Lewis Hamilton to the           how has he become such an           because he was always abroad         he said ‘OK, I need somebody
very last lap of the season for        influential player in Formula 1?    and I was following him through      to help me, you are young but
a championship which was                  Born in 1977 near Paris,         his racing results more than         you have been in this business
eventually so cruelly wrenched         Nicolas Todt spent his              seeing him in Paris,” he says. “So   for many years, you have some
from the Brazilian’s hands.            childhood growing up in France.     during my whole life from five       good contacts, can you help
   But as Massa continued to           His parents divorced when he        years old to 20 I used to see him    me?’”
grow, so too did the career            was six, and, with his father       only on some weekends. I came           The rest, as they say,

                                                    The Todt and
                                                    Massa team, from
                                                    2004 at Sauber to
                                                    2008 at Ferari

             is history. But it wasn’t   people will compare you             “First of all I was a rookie, but I   to give him a second chance
          all straight forward.          because you have the same         already knew a lot of people in         in Formula 1 which is difficult
Comparisons with his father              name. What is important is to     the business. Obviously at the          because people forget you very
have never been far away.                do what you believe in.”          beginning some people did not           quickly. Then it was up to him
  “My father never advised me               But just as drivers such as    give me a lot of credit because I       to do the job, and he did the
to enter the business,” Nicolas          Nico Rosberg, Nelson Piquet       was young, because of the way I         job very well.”
admits. “Unlike what many                or Bruno Senna have found, a      arrived, but in this sport you are         And so, after two years back
people believe he never pushed           famous name can be as useful      judged on your results. I, unlike       with Sauber, and with Nicolas
me to manage Felipe. Actually            as it can be a hindrance.         many people at the time, saw            firmly by his side as his fulltime
he even advised me not to set             “It is an advantage and a        that Felipe had great potential.        manager, Felipe Massa was
up my GP2 Series team, which             disadvantage,” he admits. “I      He was doing a lot of mistakes,         signed by Ferrari to partner
I did with Fred [Vasseur.] He            think it definitely opened some   but when he was on track he             Michael Schumacher. While
was against it because he knew           doors and it closed some doors.   was as quick as Heidfeld, which         many would argue that Todt’s
that people would try to make            Because people look more at       was a good thing. I think the           job in sealing the seat for his
a comparison, and obviously              what you do so when it goes       management was first of all             driver was a tremendous effort
being compared to somebody               well you go up more quickly,      about convincing the team               given the fact that, at that time,
who had been so successful is            but when it goes badly you go     [Sauber] to take him back, and          Massa was still considered a
not easy but he never told me            down more quickly.”               if you do well, the doors are           big risk, Nicolas is reluctant to
not to do it. He just gave me              The learning curve in driver    more open.                              overstate his own role and take
some suggestions.                        management was steep.               “When Felipe first started in         the plaudits.
  “But I think I did well not to         Without years in junior level     2004 at Sauber he had a very              “I had stayed in touch with
listen to him, because in life           driver management to use as       bad image as somebody who               all the teams and then we had
you need to do what you are              a foundation, he was thrust       was very inconsistent, with             some luck because Barrichello
keen to do. My goal is not to            straight into the political       many flaws, making many                 decided to leave Ferrari.
do better than him, although             minefield of F1.                  mistakes. I think I contributed         At that time Ferrari

          Todt and Lewis
          Hamilton in the GP2
          days (right); with
          Bourdais (below
          right) and Rosberg.
          (far right) – 2005 GP2
          Todt and Vasseur
          (below).                 GP2 Media Service

                                                                                                         GP2 Media Service

           needed to find a driver      talks about me and that means      so I tried to find the best team to      makes sense for him to stay
         for one year, and it’s not     he did a good job. But, you        be my partner. At that time, the         with us for GP2, like with
easy to find a top driver just for      know, last season was a great      best team in Formula 3 was ASM           Lewis Hamilton, with Romain
one year. But Felipe was already        satisfaction.”                     and they had the same goal as            Grosjean, with Nico Hulkenberg.
contracted to them on a long               As Massa’s reputation grew as   me which was to join GP2. So             It’s a great company with very
term basis, so it made sense for        a driver, so too did Todt’s as a   together we built ART Grand              capable people and now we
them to take him.”                      manager. The next logical step,    Prix.”                                   have to develop the company.
  Both Nicolas and his driver           for him, was to expand into           ART had the best possible             We are in three championships,
took a lot of flak in the press         team management.                   birth, taking the team titles in         with F3, GP2 and GP2 Asia, and
that season, as Ferrari was               “When GP2 was launched I         GP2 in the first two seasons of          I hope we do something else
widely criticised and questioned        spoke to Flavio [Briatore] and     the new championship, and                next year. We are talking about
for signing Massa. It is when           he told me that I should set up    sending Nico Rosberg and                 GP3, so I hope we will be able to
reflecting on moments such              a team. I thought very carefully   Lewis Hamilton to the drivers’           do that.”
as that 2006 season however,            and for me I thought it made       championships and up to F1. So              The all-new GP3 would be a
that Massa’s performance last           sense because if I decided to      successful was ART in GP2 that           logical step, but Nicolas Todt’s
season provides Nicolas with the        manage other drivers it would      the Todt/Vasseur ART business            name has never been far away
greatest pride.                         make sense to have them in my      has now taken over the ASM               from rumours of interest in an
 “Oh, a lot, a huge satisfaction!”      team.                              brand in F3 to create an ART             F1 team. Linked to a buyout of
he smiles. “Because first of all          “I didn’t have enough            racing ladder.                           Toro Rosso last season, Nicolas
when Felipe arrived at Ferrari          experience in the business and       “There are many synergies              quickly rebuked such rumours,
there was more talk about me            I didn’t want to spend all of my   between F3 and GP2, because              although he admits that with
than about him. Now nobody              time running a team by myself,     if an F3 driver wins with us, it         the FIA’s newest proposals for

                                                                                                                 >> F1 INSIGHT

                                                                                                                                           GP2 Media Service

 budget capping, the F1 dream is         “The recent decisions, which      Jules Bianchi. Nicolas discovered     you want to win. So if you do
 closer now than ever before.          are not yet finalised, go in the    Jules in karting, and has guided      manage to win the satisfaction
   “A few years ago everybody          right direction, and I think that   him through Formula Renault           is fantastic. I would say that
 was trying to connect me with         in the future it will be much       and into Formula 3. He insists        I helped Felipe, but I didn’t
 a team purchase which was             more doable, to have your own       that, while he is proud of all that   discover him. He didn’t reach
 completely crap,” he laughs.          team. So if things go like that     he has achieved to date, it is        Formula 1 thanks to me. I
“Obviously when you are in this        and they take that direction,       through his work with Bianchi         managed to take him back and
 business you always dream of          then I will consider that.”         that he stands to recover the         to do quite a good job. But
 Formula 1, but the gap between           Todt has never stood still.      most pride.                           regarding Jules, I took him when
 Formula 1 and GP2 is too big.         From starting his management         “Getting Sebastien [Bourdais]        he was in go karts, when he was
 But I have always said that if        career with Massa in 2003, to       back into F1 was a big                very young, and the satisfaction
 they are able to cut the costs        setting up ART in 2005 and          satisfaction because nobody           is very different. The first time
 drastically, because at the end       taking on the management            believed that he would be able        I met him he was a kid, and if
 of the day Formula 1 is a passion     of Sebastien Bourdais in 2007       to make it in Formula 1, not          he ever makes it to Formula 1
 and a sport but it has also got       and getting him back into F1,       because he was no good but            then that, for me, would be a
 to be profitable, because if you      the Frenchman seems to be           because he was too old. It’s          great satisfaction because it will
 do a job you don’t want to lose       constantly looking for new          about taking risks, because if        remind you of all the hard work
 money, then I would think about       challenges on which to deliver      you don’t pick up the phone, if       you have done.”
 it. But if I go to Formula 1, my      his Midas touch.                    you don’t try to move your ass,          And who knows, perhaps that
 goal is not to survive, it is to do      His interest in driver           you will never achieve anything.      debut might yet come with
 well in terms of results and in       management has seen him             So that was a nice feeling.           Todt’s own F1 team.
 terms of economics.                   take on young French sensation       “But at the end of the day             “Maybe,” he smiles. “Maybe…”

Finally, something to
     After a decade of big spending and small
     results, Toyota’s Grand Prix team is starting to
     look like a threat. By WILL BUXTON

                                                                                                         >> F1 insight
        WO races, two podiums, second in
        the championship. All in all, it’s not
        been a bad start to 2009 for Toyota.
          The promise had been clear
from the first competitive run of the car
in winter testing. Toyota, never ones to           We Are looking
toot their trumpet before a season gets
underway, had an air of confidence about
them. The garage had a spring in its step.         to the next
The car looked quick, and it looked stable.        couple of
It’s high nose, sculpted body and clever           races to
diffuser was the talk of the pitlane.
   Had Toyota really pulled it off and for
                                                   really see
once created a competitive car that could          what the car
fight for wins straight out of the box?            can do
   Protested in Australia, thrown to the
back of the grid for the unrelated flexi-
wing controversy … and still a red and
white car made it onto the podium. One
week later and with the wing issues sorted       of paper it has provided for the teams to       of losing the advantage created by the
the Toyotas lined up second and third on         start from scratch and really show what         diffuser, Howett insists KERS will not be
the grid and in the race recorded their          they can do.                                    rushed.
second 3-4 finish in two races.                    “The new regulations have probably              “I don’t think that the diffuser and KERS
   But after so many false dawns Toyota,         brought everybody back to a zero datum          are related directly. I think KERS has an
and its Team President John Howett, is well      line, which has probably helped us and          issue in centre of gravity, height and
versed at keeping expectations in check.         those teams that were behind. In terms          weight distribution, and that’s probably
  “I think we need two or three [more]           of the biggest change it’s the fact that        one of the bigger issues versus the actual
races to really understand the relative          there is no testing from now on, and that       laptime or shall we say tactical advantage
performance ranking of the teams at the          means we have to take more risks in what        that it can offer. So we’re still developing
moment,” he told Motorsport News in              we do, and also to be honest, because we        KERS, at the moment we are still unsure,
Sepang.                                          are reducing resources in many areas, we        probably more so after seeing the results
  “The car is very fast I think in free air or   have to focus on what we invest in. we          in Australia.”
out of traffic. But historically Melbourne is    have to drop things that don’t deliver an           But after two races, and two podiums,
a rather unique track. In testing we’ve had      immediate improvement in performance.           Howett says he is incredibly proud of the
a pretty good season. Winter tests were            “I think there have been additional costs,    work the team back in Cologne has done
maybe a bit restricted for cost saving, but      there’s no question. It’s the dilemma of this   in creating what is now clearly one of the
we were fairly confident that we had a car       year. It’s probably one of the most difficult   best cars to come out of the box.
that has very good basis to be strong this       years financially for Formula 1 and yet we          “Yeah, very good, really happy for the
year.”                                           have major, major revisions. I think the        guys,” he beams.
   That successful winter of testing, and        issue has been less carry over parts because      “But still it’s a long season. We’ve got to
the early season signs of genuine race-          we’ve gone to slicks, so we have more           show we can keep on developing and
long pace, have given the team cause for         mechanical load on the wishbones and            we still need to understand where we are
confidence.                                      the suspension, so a lot of those items are     relatively here, Bahrain and I think by the
  “I think so,” Howett smiles.                   new rather than carried over or revised. The    time we get back to Barcelona and see
  “One is always nervous because you still       aero is slightly more expensive but we’re       how the first European races [play out.]
never really know until you … well you           constantly developing the car anyway. I           “We’re looking forward to the next
know what they say, until the flag drops,        think overall there hasn’t been necessarily a   couple of races to really see what the car
and then it [the bullshit] stops, so basically   massive financial impact from that.”            can do.”
I think that is the real situation and still        Toyota is one of three teams currently            And as for wins?
now we’d like to see a few more races to         running under appeal over an intelligent          “I think that’s why we race. It’s why we’re
understand different tracks and where we         diffuser design, which their rivals claim       here and that is the ambition of the team.
really are.”                                     is not in the spirit of the regulations. Be     I think we feel we’re in a stronger position
   Where Toyota is right now is second in        these diffusers found legal or not, F1 will     now than we ever have been before to do
the constructors’ championship on four           soon reach a level of comparative parity in     it.”
times as many points as BMW in third.            which all the teams are either able to run          For the first time in Formula 1, the
Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock sit third and        such diffusers or Toyota, along with Brawn      thought throughout the paddock is the
fourth in the drivers’ championship, split       and Williams, will have to change theirs.       very one expressed by Howett. For it
by half a point and with only the Brawn          Any advantage at this point will be critical.   seems likely that soon – make that very
drivers ahead of them.                              Toyota was one of the first teams to         soon – it could be that Toyota’s cars are as
   So what’s made the change? Many point         publically state it would not run KERS at       formidable in GP racing as they are in the
to the new regulations and the clean sheet       the start of 2009, and despite the threat       marketplace.

World Championship
What were you doing when you were 18 years old? Probably not competing at
rallying’s highest level, like Evgeny Novikov. MARTIN HOLMES reports

      T looked like the Christmas        The minimum age to drive         drivers notwithstanding               my rear view mirror enough!”
      present to end them all.        on the roads in Russia is 18        running far behind them at               Alexey Schukin became
         December 25, 2005 was        (with some restrictions, 16) but    number 80, but then he went           actively involved in Evgeniy’s
      the date of the Vyatka Rally,   special permission was available    off the road three stages before      rallying activities around the
one of Russia’s second level          on rallies if the co-driver drove   the end.                              middle of 2006. His father,
regional rallies. After being         the road sections.                     He entered the FIA’s 2008          Maxim, had been looking for
allowed to drive the stages             “It was only in 2008 that I was   Production Car series. He was         a manager for his son’s future
on other rallies in a Zero car,       finally allowed to drive on the     going to be only 17 years-old         motorsport activities. Maxim
Evgeniy Novikov finally got his       roads in my country. The first      for most of the season, but           wanted to develop Evgeniy up
first taste of competing as a         time I did this on a rally was on   there were to be no licence           to international level in one way
driver.                               the final event in the Russian      problems for him in Argentina,        or another.
  “I had just turned 15 years old –   championship, the Rally Russia      Greece and Turkey and                    Alexey: “It was a big dilemma.
in fact it was the opening round      event at Novorossysk.”              thereafter he would be 18.            The option was to be involved
of the regional Russia Cup series,       Because of his previous             In New Zealand the minimum         in the whole Formula 1 process,
in what we called the 2006            karting career, foreign             driving age is 16, but he still had   or to become involved in
season.                               travel was already a normal         to obtain a local licence. Japan      rallying. Evgeniy was given
  “I was driving a Mitsubishi and     experience for Evgeniy, but         required him to take a driving        three months to decide. He
I was in line to finish second        rallying abroad was new.            test.                                 had been quite successful in
behind my father. He knew                Wales Rally GB 2007                “I passed the theory test first     karting so Maxim’s first thought
that I was taking the season          was Evgeniy’s first World           time, but I had to retake the         was Formula 1, but in the end
seriously and he let me beat          Championship rally. All was         practical test. My examiner           Evgeniy decided that his future
him to the finish, so I won my        going very well. Starting the       made some comment about               lay in rallying.
very first event! I eventually I      final day, he was competitive       driving sideways too much, but          “The project was to help
went on to win the series.”           with the PCWRC points-scoring       failed me because I did not use       Evgeniy develop his skills

                                                                                                  >> WRC INSIGHT

Rally life ... at 18!
and become a member of a          beginning Evgeniy preferred         essentially really just to give    them all to find out.
world championship factory        the Subaru cars which felt were     him the chance of comparative         The team had an horrendous
team, and go for the chance to    so good when you were sliding.      experience, to understand          time before Wales Rally GB
become world champion.”             “Later he changed his mind        the future development in          when Evgeniy went to test-
                                  and felt that with the Mitsubishi   motorsport.”                       drive a C4 WRC in Wales, then

2  008 was to be a serious
    learning season. Evgeniy
had the chance of driving four
                                  one could go faster because the
                                  Evo did not like sliding through
                                  corners so much, and you were
                                                                        2009 has seen a huge step
                                                                      forward in his career, with the
                                                                      chance of competing in a World
                                                                                                         drove up to Cumbria to test
                                                                                                         drive a Focus WRC the following
                                                                                                         day. In the end they arrived in
different types of rally car –    not so committed to a precise       Rally Car on eight of the 12       Cockermouth at 0700 the next
Subaru Impreza N12, Impreza       line.                               World Championship events          morning, without any sleep,
N14, Mitsubishi Evo and a           “Behind the chance to make        around the world in the official   and Evgeniy had to drive the
Peugeot 207 S2000).               such a decision the most            Citroen Junior Team.               Focus two hours later!
  Alexey: “It was a decision of   important thing for the team          There was another major            “Evgeniy immediately noticed
our team (called E-Art) to gain   was that we realised that           decision to be taken – should      that the cars were different, but
as much experience within the     he could feel the difference.       he be running in a Subaru, Ford    in the end they were
shortest period of time. At the   The Super 2000 drive was            or a Citroen? They had to test     potentially as good as

                            >> WRC INSIGHT

           each other. The           his young charge is learning
        Citroen, however, felt       every day: “The first rally we
   more comfortable. To decide       did together was Rally Russia
to go with Citroen was his           in 2008 at Vyborg. On the
rather than the team’s choice.       second to last stage we ran
The Citroen was more suitable        wide on a bend, hit a big
for him.”                            stone and pulled the wheel
   There was no time to check        off and wrecked the fuel tank.
out the Subaru.                      He really let fly with Russian
   Being 33 years-old,               expletives.
Australian codriver Dale               “Not long after that we
Moscatt found working with           were in New Zealand and
someone who was so young a           the gearbox broke right at
bit strange, but no problem:         the end of the rally and a lot
  “Evgeniy has absolutely no         more expletives came out. I
lack of commitment. He wants         suddenly realised that he was
to go fast all the time and part     now swearing in English!
of my role is to control all that.     “He is from a different
  “He is also smart enough and       generation from what I am
far beyond his years at 18. You      used to. When I started
can give him some advice or          rallying we learned our stuff
discuss strategy and he will         in Datsun 1600s and even
immediately adjust to what           1200s, and here is this young
was discussed.                       guy who learned his stuff
  “His karting background            in Group N Mitsubishis and
means he is no stranger to           Subarus!”
going round Europe. He is               Gradually we in turn are
certainly well-travelled, and        learning more about our
he speaks very good English          young Russian friend. The
now. At his age it is easy to        first thing he explained to us
be overwhelmed but he has            in Portugal was that Russian
already spent a lot of time in       people don’t in fact receive
the racing world.”                   Christmas presents … there
   But, according to Moscatt,        goes our intro …

                                                                                                         >> WRC INSIGHT

Running to plan ...
Ford’s new Super 2000 rally car, and World Championship contender, is on schedule, as

        HINGS are really moving       important so that the cars will      opener in terms of a show,
        at M-Sport.                   then be available for sale to        and we enjoyed watching the
          It was confirmed            teams so they can run the car at     Super 2000 cars, because they
        during the Rally of           the start of the 2010 season.”       made more noise and were
Portugal last week that the new          What will be the telling factor   revving higher – they looked
entry-level Fiesta was going to       for a winning Super 2000 car?        faster than our World Rally Car,
be homologated on July 1. This          “It is the same as ever! Look at   even though those cars were
is also the time when cars can        the Skoda Fabia S2000 which          probably delivering a lot less
be designed for the next set of       benefitted from the design           power than we have!
World Championship rules.             lessons learned from the Fabia         “I still remember the
   Christian Loriaux, Technical       World Rally car.                     excitement of the old two-
Director at M-Sport, knows              “So much of the winning            wheel 2-litre Kit Cars, which         Spy Shot: Matthew Wilson secretly
that the next generation              factors are in the small details,    revved up to 10,000rpm. We            tested the new Fiesta rally car in
of championship rallying is           things you do not immediately        could have recreated that, but        Cumbria last month.
coming frighteningly soon.            notice but which lumped              I don’t think it will happen like
The current design of World           together make all the difference     that.”
Rally cars, which have been the      – the little refinements, the            Are you looking forward to          Championship level and for
centre of world championship          precise suspension geometry.         working on the new car?                sure that will produce a lot of
sport since 1997, will be             The small details all add up.”         “I am sad to see a lot of the        action packed drama.”
outlawed in 18 months time               The FIA has decreed that the      technology go, and a lot of              So as doors are closed, the
and normally-aspirated cars           new ‘World Rally Car’ will be        fantastic technology has               engineers open new ones?
based on Super 2000 will              based on Super 2000 but with         already gone.                           “If the Super 2000 regulations
replace them.                         certain specific add-on parts.         “In 2004 we designed a               are applied properly, and if they
   Although it is not yet             What difference will these parts     differential. Only two of them         do not let too many doors open
known which FIA approved              make to the performance – or         were ever built. We had clutch         and make sure all the cars are
transmission supplier will be         are they just cosmetic?              drive to every wheel, torque           strictly by the rules, it will be
used for Ford’s Super 2000, it          “I really don’t know. All          management, we could put               fantastic. But we will certainly
is now confirmed that the new         we know is that the World            what torque we wanted on               have to do new things that we
model Fiesta will be the basis        Council says there will be           every wheel. We were working           haven’t done before, things
for its Super 2000.                   small differences between            on things like active suspension       which the rules force you to
   Loriaux knows that a Super         the two. The only identifiable       and active ride height. It would       do and which we would never
2000 car is a lot easier to design    performance change will be the       have been brilliant for showing        normally think of doing, and
than a current World Rally car.       larger rear wing, the same size      everyone what we could do, it          that is the new challenge for us.
There is no turbo, no intercooler,    as we use on the World Rally car.    would have pushed technology           You have to keep on your toes.
no fresh air injection, no design       “Obviously we approve the          a good step forward, a great            “You cannot assume that
of transmission hydraulic             idea that cars in the World          way to show how motor sport            you are going to be able to do
systems. A Super 2000 is also         Championship should be               can lead the way forward. But it       things exactly like you have
easier to package.                    the pinnacle of the sport            never happened, never used, all        done before. I know the new
   Although work on a Ford            and should produce extra             thrown away!                           regulations have been devised
Fiesta S2000 was carried out          excitement.                            “Anyway Super 2000 will be           for the good purpose of making
two years ago in Australia, this        “We cannot help thinking           a lot cheaper. Still the best          things cheaper. The exciting
is a brand new project based on       that for a little extra money so     man will win but hopefully             thing is to have a challenge.”
a completely different base car.      much more could be done –            the new formula will bring               There is still one thing we do
   Loriaux tells us, as much as       extra camshaft lift, four throttle   more manufacturers back. And           not know – will Ford be running
he is permitted, what is going        bodies instead of a single one,      if not more manufacturers,            ‘officially’ in the WRC after the
on a M-Sport: “The technical          we could have 9000rpm instead        then it will attract more good         end of 2009? For the moment,
regulations are finalised and         of 8500, for only a few extra        young drivers. Super 2000              the development of the Fiesta
we now need to start working          thousand euros. All this could       will certainly make it more            Super 2000 means that, at least,
a lot more. Our aim is to have        be done.                             difficult to predict who is            Fords in various colours will
the first new regulation World          “Last year I went to the end-      going to win. It will give a lot of    at least be on the entry lists in
Rally car running by September,       of-season non championship           chance for non-official entries        future, even if not also in the
in five months’ time. This is         Monza Rally. It was a big eye-       to be competitive at World             official works colours …


                                                          >> GPWEEK PArting Shot

F1 returns to the always crammed grandstands at the Shanghai International Circuit this weekend, where the breakthrough
             performance of the underdog teams may well see a late flurry of ticket sales ... but we’re not holding our breath.
                                                            Photo: Sutton Motorsport Images –

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